Finding a job is the greatest challenge most newcomers to Canada face. Whether it is the lack of credential recognition, language barriers, or unfamiliarity with Canadian workplace ethics; a job hunt invariably turns into a frustrating exercise for many. Most Canadian employers look for Canadian work experience and prefer to hire candidates with some sort of knowledge about Canadian work culture. Immigrants who are new to the country, with no professional connections and a lack of sector-specific knowledge, understandably feel at a huge loss.
Job search in such cases can turn into an unending ordeal, failing to yield the desired results. As a result, most new skilled immigrants, are often unemployed or under-employed. Many are forced to take up survival jobs that are a poor match for their education, skills and/or prior experience. Lack of job satisfaction rapidly progresses into a career disconnect, social exclusion, and isolation.
With the aim to create employment solutions to help skilled immigrants to integrate better in the Canadian labour market, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) has been working to improve career and employment outcomes for newcomers in the Greater Toronto Area. Since 2004, TRIEC has been coordinating TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, which is a collaboration of 27 employer and 12 community partners across the Greater Toronto Area. The program is funded by the Government of Canada through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration, and International Trade.
How the Program Works?
Designed for immigrants who are internationally educated, experienced, employment-ready, and seeking a job in their field, the program matches newcomer immigrant professionals to a mentor in Canada who shares a similar professional background. The mentor helps mentees to reconnect with their career through sound professional advice, tips, and job search strategies. Mentees can hone their skills, learn Canadian work ethics, and workplace communication, and build professional connections. Over a mentorship period ranging three months, mentors help newcomers learn to navigate the local labor market and conduct job searches that are more effective and successful.
Community partners, employment partners, and settlement and employment agencies work together to match immigrants and support them in finding meaningful employment.
Key players in TRIEC Mentoring Partnership
There are three key players in the TRIEC Mentoring Partnership: Community Partners, Employers Partners and Settlement and Employment Agencies.
Community Partners: employment-providing organizations who support immigrants to find work in their professional fields.
Employer Partners: Several organizations from diverse sectors find and recruit mentors from amongst their staff.
Settlement and Employment Agencies: based around the Greater Toronto Area who refer their newcomer clients to mentoring to find employment.
How a Mentor Can Help?
- A mentor will help you to:
- Understand Canadian job market and industry trends;
- Build your professional network;
- Develop effective job search strategies;
- Find ways of leveraging your skills and experience.
To be accepted as a mentee in the program, you must:
- Have 2 years + international experience in your professional field;
- Have lived in Canada for less than five years;
- Be currently unemployed or underemployed and looking to reconnect with your career;
- Be legally entitled to work in Canada;
- Have a post-secondary education equivalent to a university degree or college diploma;
- Have English language proficiency sufficient to work in the field (usually Canadian Language Benchmark level 6-8);
- Not have previously participated in the program.
As a part of the program, mentees receive support in terms of:
- Workshops to build job search, resume, and/or interview skills;
- Employment counseling and job search assistance;
- Networking events;
- Hiring events;
- Soft skills workshops.
How to Sign Up?
To sign up for the program,
Step 1: Visit your nearest Community Partner
Step 2: Talk to a mentoring coach: at the community partner location. The mentoring coach will assess your eligibility for the program.
Step 3: Wait to be matched: Based on your information, you will be matched to a mentor who has the same professional background.
Step 4: Meet Your Mentor: If you accept the mentor’s recommendation, you participate in an orientation session to get started.
TRIEC Mentoring Partnership is Empowering
TRIEC Mentoring Partnership empowers new immigrants with industry-specific job knowledge, providing them a pathway to reconnect to their careers. The program is committed to tapping diverse workforce talent and creating workspaces that are more immigrant-inclusive.
Published in 2020, the evaluation report titled, “Demand For & Impact of Mentoring Newcomer Professionals: The Case of TRIEC Mentoring Partnership” found that:
- The TRIEC Mentoring Partnership more than doubles a newcomer’s chances of securing a good quality job;
- Participant mentees are 2.5x more likely to find good-quality employment;
- 85% of those employed after the program are in permanent and full-time jobs;
- Over 80% of the mentees reported enhanced job search skills;
- 4x more likely to expand participants’ professional networks.
The report highlights that the greatest impact has been observed on female newcomers and those who are unemployed. The program has been instrumental in fostering career transitions. (https://triec.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Demand-for-Impact-of-Mentoring-Newcomer-Professionals-The-case-of-TRIEC-Mentoring-Partnership.pdf)
Mentoring for Success
TRIEC Mentoring Partnership is impactful, delivering proven outcomes, and social, employment, and economic successes. It has reduced precarious employment and helped newcomer immigrants achieve their employment goals and integrate better into the Canadian workforce.
The TRIEC Mentoring Partnership has ushered in a lifechanging transformation for many new immigrants, and you never know, it could turn out to be your key to professional success.
This article is written by Ginny Rana who is an international student pursuing Social Services Worker (Immigrants & Refugees) program at Seneca College. A published writer, Ginny is working as a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.